Sam Insalaco, founder of theBREWROOM, discusses his career, the digital world, and more!
This week I went over to visit with Sam Insalaco, founder and owner of theBREWROOM, and co-founder of Yeah! Buffalo. Sam has always had a passion for building websites and helping others with putting their businesses in the right direction. Sam founded theBREWROOM in March of 2011 and has been building his company for over 7 years! Sam and I sat down and talked about his business, his passion for helping others, and his interest in the digital world:
How did you get started in the digital world?
“Before I started my business I worked at a large agency in Pittsburgh. I started my company in Pittsburgh and eventually moved it to Buffalo. Eventually after working for a large agency, I got to the point where I wanted to start doing work the way I felt they should be done and servicing clients the way I thought they should be serviced. Long story short, after some time, I decided to quit and start my own business. As soon as people heard I quit, friends would come to me and ask me to build websites and some other marketing tasks for their companies. I quickly got thrown into search engine optimization and now I have made that a core part of every website project we do. I really wanted to help the clients I wanted to help, and when you work for yourself you can pick which people need your help.”
Biggest challenge you have faced thus far?
“I think my biggest challenge is myself. Having the self-discipline to get to work every day and get through all of the tasks I have for the day. Another thing I have learned along the way is to focus on the work that I am able to do. I like to try and do everything myself, and there are other people who may be better at other things, so spreading that out and allowing myself to focus in on what I do best and let people who are better at the other stuff do that.”
Do you think the changes in technology make it easier or harder now?
“It gets more competitive, anybody can sit at their home and make a website on WordPress or Squarespace now. The challenge is to understand how websites truly work and how to structure a website. There is a lot more to it than just making the website look pretty. That is where I try to set myself apart my going in depth to figure out the right implications, structure and goals for the site.”
What do you think of the advancement of the Buffalo tech scene in recent years?
“I think it has really advanced, mostly in the past couple of years, and one of the reasons that it was attractive for me to move this business back to Buffalo was because, frankly some of the websites here were pretty rough. A lot of them were outdated, and I am not sure if that is because they did not have the budget for them, or they did not really look into a newer website, but either way there was a big market for me to help people with update their sites. The tech scene has boomed a lot with things like 43 North, and the work that Universities here have done. I think there is still a lot of work to be done in terms of keeping people in Buffalo, but we are definitely heading in the right direction.”
Any advice for someone who wants to be in a similar position to you one day?
“You have to think to the core of why you want to do it. Is it because you want to make money, or because you built your cousin a website once and really enjoyed it, or is it because that is the work you really want to do every day? You have to figure out what you do that sets you apart. I am continually doing that, but I really started this business because I like helping people. I get excited helping others to build their own sites and helping them advance or start their business. Finding what it is that gets you excited and makes you happy every day is probably the biggest part of it.”
Any book/blog/podcast that has helped you in your career?
“There is a book called “40 Freelancing Secrets”, and if anybody is thinking of starting in freelancing this gives you a lot of the information you will need. Another book is “The Big Leap” and that talks about what may be stopping you from doing what you want to do and making that next step in your career and life.
What do you see for your future?
“I would like to continue to grow my staff and expand the company. I am a pretty small operation and there are some other great agencies that I really enjoy partnering with, like the Telesco Creative Group. We have a really great relationship. Moving forward, finding the right core of people that all have their head in the same place and want to help others would be the next step. I am happy when I am helping others directly growing their business, so maybe down the road focusing more on that direct side of it rather than doing the actual execution or work would be something I would really like to do.”
Thank you to Sam for taking some time to share insight into his career, and his thoughts on all things digital! Have any questions or comments? Leave them in the comments below!